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Measuring the Immeasurable

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Damilola Ola


   Professor  Blackman

26th September 2017

Measuring the Immeasurable

The Atlantic Slave Trade

David P. Henige

        The slave trade comprises one of the most embarrassing chapters in European history. Its cruelties are shocking to those reading about them for the first time, and its extent multiplies that horror. From the 16th until the early 19th centuries, black slaves totaling nearly 12 million were brought from Africa to the New World , against their will, and forced to perform back-breaking labor under terrible conditions. In this article , Henige's thesis statement is "Both with or without regards to the degree of that success, we can consider what the possibility might be of determining with any useful precision the impact of the trade on West Africa. I find this statement to be significant because its not subjective to one idea , it was made with the a general perspective of how the world would view the slave trade. (Page 232 , African diaspora 4th edition).

        Henige uses different statistical evidence in the article to support his thesis in divers ways. He made mention of the disorganised traditional society and transformation  of social, political and religious structures . He also wrote about the increasing tempo of warfare in West Africa as weak and not credible evidence of studies. The rate of the west African population was also an evidence used as it was estimated to be weak because it does not correctly estimated . He went on to explain that Historian of Pre-colonial Africa resigned themselves to assuming their sources could never be complete.

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